Rice and peas is a traditional Jamaican dish. The "peas" in this recipe are not peas as we normally think of them, but are actually beans instead. In this recipe, I use kidney beans. The combination of rice and kidney beans provides a healthy balance of proteins, and the addition of fresh thyme, sweet red bell pepper and chilies gives this dish a wonderful fragrance and a unique kick. Cooked in a rich coconut milk broth, the resulting dish is incredibly smooth and creamy. This makes a nice accompaniment to seafood or grilled vegetables.
Grilled Fish with Lime Vinaigrette
Jamaican Rice and Peas
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Crisp Pineapple Chunks


2/3 cup dried kidney beans
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 fresh hot red or green chili, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1-1/4 cups long-grained white rice
a 14 ounce can of coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut

Cooking Instructions

Rinse the kidney beans and place in a medium sized pot. Cover with water and let soak overnight.

Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and drain again. Put the beans back into the pot, add enough water to cover them by 1 inch, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour. During the final 10 minutes of cooking, add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue cooking. When the beans are tender, drain and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pan with a fitted lid. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the red bell pepper, garlic, and chili and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the thyme and cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained kidney beans and rice, and stir to combine the ingredients together.

Pour the coconut milk and water over the rice mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked (check after about 10 minutes and, if it seems too dry, just add a bit more water and continue to simmer. You want to keep enough liquid in the pan so that the rice near the bottom doesn't burn.)

While the rice is cooking, toast the grated coconut in a small, dry pan over medium heat until it is lightly browned and fragrant. When the rice is done, top it with a sprinkling of toasted coconut and serve.

Makes 4 servings



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If you are pressed for time or have forgotten to soak the beans overnight, you can perform a quick soak. Cover the beans with cold water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. After removing from the heat, let the beans stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and then continue with the recipe as it is written. In a pinch, you can use canned kidney beans but, you will have better results if you take the extra time to prepare the dried beans.

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